At Christian Siriano’s spring 2017 presentation, there was a rumbling of applause as Georgia Pratt, a plus-size model, stepped out on the turquoise, tangerine and white runway.
She was one of five plus-size women to walk in the show, followed by Sabina Karlsson (Jag), Precious Lee (IMG), Marquita Pring (IMG) and Alessandra Garcia Lorido (IMG). Their inclusion was a first for Siriano’s seasonal runway shows.
“I just thought it was super important to have women of diversity on the runway this season,” said the designer backstage post-show. “It was the right time, I thought it also made sense for the collection,” he added of the holiday-in-Capri themed show.
Earlier this year, the Project Runway alum created a plus-size collection in collaboration with Lane Bryant, and made headlines by volunteering to create a custom gown for Leslie Jones after the actress took to Twitter to express her grief that designers “refused” to dress her for July’s Ghostbusters premiere. His inclusiveness (not to mention, his craftsmanship), garnered him well-deserved recognition. Just weeks after dressing Jones, Michelle Obama wore one of his creations while delivering her speech at the DNC, which some speculated was a nod to what he’s come to stand for.
“I met Christian when he did the collaboration for Lane Bryant,” said Lee, who hit the runway in a form-fitting white button down dress and flowing silk black robe. “It was really exciting to walk for him then, but to walk for him for a show that’s not just specifically plus is really amazing.”
Pratt, who also met Siriano through his Lane Bryant collaboration, added “I think it’s really nice for a designer who is so prominent in the American fashion world to be casting models not unlike the women that he dresses in real life. I think it shows a progressive skip forward in terms of fashion and how women are perceived in fashion. I think it’s really beautiful.”
Thanks to body positivity activists - most notably, Ashley Graham, who had a front-row seat alongside Siriano regulars Christina Hendricks and Kelly Osbourne (both guests at his July wedding to Brad Walsh) - plus-size, or normal-size fashion as some like to call it, has been in the conversation for the past several months. However, today’s presentation makes history as one of the first high-fashion collections to seamlessly include women of all sizes.
“I think everything in his collection is absolutely fabulous, but the number one reason that I love him is he’s incorporating size diversity,” said Graham before the show. “And that’s huge, because there’s not a lot of designers doing that - maybe a very small handful. I feel that he’s doing it effortlessly and also consciously, because this is the future of fashion. There’s no one standard of beauty anymore. So bravo.”
In addition to plus-size women, the designer (yet again) featured models of diverse ethnicities, making his “one of the most diverse shows in all of fashion,” as Coco Rocha put it on Twitter.
Karlsson, who also walked in Friday’s Chromat presentation, summed it up: “He celebrates everyone - different ethnicities and shapes and sizes - which is how it should be. I think he just really appreciates women.”
Booth Moore and Stephanie Chan contributed to this report.